POSTURE!! I’m sure you’ve all heard this word countless times, be it from a medical professional or your mom telling you to straighten up and stop slouching, yes, we’ve all heard this a time or two, let’s be honest. But, the fact of the matter is there is a reason why there is such a thing as the ‘correct’ or ‘ideal’ posture – it is the position in which your body thrives – when your body is properly aligned it is effective, efficient and productive, it’s as simple as that! But in today’s day and age where most people spend their time hunched over a computer, sitting on their bums in traffic , or chained seated to their desks for countless hours a day it’s no wonder that ‘bad’ or ‘incorrect’ posture is so common! I mean what can we expect?
Our bodies can be viewed as an ever changing biomechanical machine that adapts to the circumstances and environment around it. So, if you’re going to place your body into a particular position for a substantial portion of your day, and more so your life, eventually your muscles are going to adapt to the continuous circumstances you present to it in order to facilitate you. In other words if you sit for hours on end, your body assumes you like sitting, so it decides it’s going to help you SIT, ALL the time! BAM!! Cue incorrect posture, poor alignment, increased aches & pains & dysfunctional muscles & movement patterns. Makes sense doesn’t it? But never fear, there is most definitely a light at the end of this crooked tunnel.
The first step to ensure proper posture is AWARENESS – yes, knowing you have poor posture is the first step in the right direction, because now you can go about correcting it – YAY!! And ensuring proper standing & sitting posture is incredibly important, especially because we spend so much time in these 2 positions. Poor posture can result in chronic back, neck & shoulder pain (a neutral position relaxes the body, a bad position puts strain on the body); Tension headaches (as a result of increased neck tension); Poor circulation (when you slouch or slump, so does your spine, which can affect circulation and can cause your vertebrae to deteriorate over time); Chronic fatigue (moving your body with poor posture is taxing on your muscles and joints. Coupled with the circulation issues poor posture can cause, the result can be exhaustion in many cases). The wrong posture can also cause misalignment in your body, which can negatively affect your muscles and bones. This, in turn, can change the way you move & can even limit your range of motion.
So, now that we’ve established you might actually have poor posture, how exactly do you go about correcting it? Well, here are a couple of tips on how you can improve your posture:
1) Strengthening all the muscles that are responsible for keeping your body in the right position is VITAL!! This means a super strong core, activating & strengthening your scapular & postural stabilizer muscles of your upper back, increased hip stabilizer strength & strong Glutes, to mention a few.
2) STRETCHING! Stretching! AND MORE STRETCHING! Stretching is SO IMPORTANT, especially for those tight hamstrings of yours. And throw some neck, pec and hip stretches in there and you’re golden!
3) Be super aware of proper sitting, standing, walking, running & sleeping position & posture! Developing proper posture may take some time, BUT you will be much happier when your body not only functions properly but feels GREAT too!!